It has been two years since an Ohio State-sponsored mission trip to Jamaica helped change the course of Keita Bates-Diop’s life. It came after what should have been a breakout sophomore season and altered the mindset of a player who ultimately drew on the experience to help mold himself into last year’s Big Ten player of the year.

Last month, Micah Potter also took a university-sponsored mission trip at the completion of his sophomore season. Potter and 12 other Buckeyes went to Costa Rica, where they helped work on a community center and school and engaged with local youths in the El Cocal peninsula.

Projecting a similar growth for any player is folly. But the trip made a similar impact on Potter, who is looking to assume a bigger role as a junior on an Ohio State team that must replace four significant contributors, including Bates-Diop.

“It makes me want to take advantage of what I have and all the opportunities that I have,” Potter said Wednesday at Value City Arena. “There’s always room to grow. I’ve definitely had my fair share of late nights here and early mornings. I’m ready to take my game to the next level, and hopefully this season will prove that.”

Potter began both of his seasons as Ohio State’s starter at center, but injuries and inconsistent production have helped knock him back to a reserve role. Last season, a high ankle sprain suffered in the fourth game lingered well into Big Ten play. When he returned close to full health, Ohio State was rolling, and minutes were harder to come by.

On Wednesday, Potter said he understood that. But it was a challenging situation and one that, he hopes, he will remedy this year by proving that he can guard more than just opposing centers. Something that might help: an increased emphasis on yoga.

“It helps me with sitting down (in a defensive stance) and having mobility in my hips,” he said. “With yoga, I can sit down in a body squat basically all day.”

Classes won’t begin for Ohio State’s four freshmen until June 19, but Potter said he already has spent time with graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods in open gym sessions. The former Wake Forest player, a guard who has one season of eligibility for the Buckeyes, has impressed Potter with his ability to read the game and make the right pass.

Two teams make TBT

A pair of teams featuring former Ohio State players will again take the floor in Bexley as part of The Basketball Tournament in July. Scarlet & Gray, a team composed of William Buford, Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler, Dallas Lauderdale, David Lighty, BJ Mullens and Evan Ravenel, was named the top seed in the Midwest Regional, which will be played July 20-22 at Capital University.

They will be joined by “Big X,” a team of former Ohio State, Michigan and other Big Ten players assembled by Andrew Dakich. Big X will be the regional's No. 4 seed and features former Buckeyes Jae’Sean Tate and Kam Williams alongside former Wolverines Duncan Robinson, Stu Douglass and Jon Horford.